If you’re a council tenant in Crawley and you have a spare room in your house or flat then brace yourselves: you’re asked to give that room up to “the homeless” or face a cut in your benefit/a spare room penalty. Tory nutcase Liam Marshall-Ascough has proposed that, in order to avoid a cut in their benefits, tenants take in a homeless lodger or accept a downsized property. So if you’re a council tenant with relatives or friends far away you may have to give up that room they usually stay in when visiting, one way or another.
On Radio 4 this afternoon Mr Marshall-Asshat claimed that it is “unfair on those who have nowhere to live that these people have such space going unused in their properties”. It’s an awkward one to realise because I don’t think any family would want a stranger suddenly moving in. “Tenants would have the option to sign up for this scheme” said Mr Gaping-Arsehole as though it was all a matter of choice, minutes after saying that those who didn’t accept their part on the scheme would face a £14pw cut in benefits.
It’s not a bad idea in theory. It’s just baseless and empty. Many people have spare rooms! If someone wants to offer that room to a lodger (homeless or otherwise) then they may do so. Indeed, many do! But this is almost as though they plan to gather up all the poor people and put them in houses together. It’s impractical, ill thought out and intrusive!
It will never become policy because it has no support at all, from either council tenants (who’s home is as important and private to them as anyone’s), homeless-charity leaders (who have volunteer lodging schemes in place anyway and would lose both financial and community support through the scheme) and homeless representatives from the area (who feel that they would be intruding in the lives of families who have agreed to take them in in order to avoid joining them on the streets through loss of benefits).
But no, let us not be so cynical! It’s worth a shot, eh? And what better way to give people trust and ensure this idea is accepted as more than just an attack than to see an example set by those proposing the scheme? How about Mr Liam Massive-Arsewipe and his posho Tory ten-bedroom-mansion-owning mates – with their noses already turned up at the lower middle classes, let alone the homeless population of this country – let the homeless into their spare rooms? How about making it less about cutting benefits and punishing poorer families and more about getting a roof over the heads of the unfortunate homeless of Britain? No? Didn’t think so…
Basically, the Tories are taking their rich banker mates’ mistakes out on the easiest targets in society – poor, jobless, low income or large family households. The Chancellor’s speech today proves as much, in not so many words. David Cameron tweeted earlier this week that his government was “…on the side of the people who want to get on in life” which translates to “those people who have a bit of money and a job and will vote for us if we make them richer”. Some people can’t find a job (because this government isn’t creating them) and, try as they might, are struggling to get on in life thanks to savage cuts in benefits and support.
But hey, that is no surprise. Two years to go. Then we can get rid of this piss-poor government once and for all.